DAY 34

I am back in Italy!

Flew to Milan and then was driven the one hour to Novara.

Humid here in Novara. Very. I can understand why Italians run off to the mountains and sea shore in the summer months. They have no air conditioning!

No air for two reasons. The cost of electricity is one. The other is that most of the buildings are so old it would either be too expensive or too difficult to air condition.

Which means I slept with my bedroom window wide open last night. I also had the benefit of two fans. Hopefully I will be on Mount Blanc this evening where humidity will not be a problem. I have been told the fireplace may have to be used. It is that cool in the evening. Makes sense. Mount Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps and Europe.

Flew Aegean Air again. A treat! Lovely young attendants, stewardesses, hostesses helping. A great meal. Only a two hour flight. Not much more to tell, except for my chat with two of the working ladies.

They are not called attendants or stewardesses. They are hostesses. The hostesses are all young.

I explained how it all works in the U.S. They could not believe men did their work and what they were called and who performed the work was an issue of gender discrimination.

As to age discrimination, they had never heard of such a thing. They were confident that no way would a mature woman be permitted to do their job.

A different country. Different thoughts and concepts. Interesting.

One thing did not change. Clotheslines and drying clothes. They were evident everywhere on my car ride to Novara. Just as in Greece.

I chatted with some friends last night in Novara. The issue? The euro. What else!

They find this present marriage of sorts between Germany and France strange. The two nations have been fighting for years. They were referring to wars. France generally got kicked good by the Germans. They were unable to understand how the French could now be a junior partner with Germany.

The Italians are really mad at the Greeks. with a fervor that did not exist three weeks ago when I left Italy. They feel the Greeks have spent Italian euro money and did it in a wasteful fashion. I find this amusing since Italy is third from the bottom in this euro crisis. It is just a question of time before Germany starts defecating on them.

I was early to bed. A tired day traveling.

Today hopefully Mount Blanc.

Enjoy your day!

DAY 33

I saw something for the first time yesterday. Something never seen before by me.


The real kind. Not a homeless person looking for a hand out on Duval. The homeless receive some degree of care in the U.S. A place to sleep at night, cots, showers, at least one good meal a day.

The beggars I viewed seemed to have nothing. They looked pathetic. Quite frankly, as a visitor to Athens I found it abhorrent that some social network was not available to help these persons. This is the same Greece that I spoke about on my international internet show several monrths ago. The Greece that was preparing to give life pensions to pedophiles. Life pensions instead of life prison terms. To child abusers. While those begging and with serious problems receive nothing.

What did I see?

I was walking on a main downtown street of Athens. Two blocks from the Greek Parliament. The street is only open to pedestrian traffic. No cars. Crowded.

There on the sidewalk was an elderly woman dressed in black. She was holding on to a small wheel chair. In the wheel chair was a 30ish man. His body distorted in every conceivable way. The woman holding one hand out.

A block away I happened upon a young man sitting on the curb. His legs were extended in front of him. His left foot was twisted dramatically to the left. He sat with his hand extended.

Then there was the young mother holding what I assume was her young child. The baby was no more than 6 months old. The woman was dressed in black. She had the baby in one arm and her hand extended with the other. Her eyes followed me.

Children 4, 5 and 6 years old came up and put a hand out. In the hand, a rose. They say nothing. Just look at you with big sad eyes.


No one bothers with these people. Including the authorities.

A shame.

I had an otherwwise nice day. A manicure. The nails grow regardless of where you are. Drinks at the plaka at cocktail time. My manager friend gave me a bowl of cut up fruit. On the house. Dinner was again on what is known as the poor side of Acropolis and the Parthenon. A different restaurant. A terrific meal. I needed protein. I ordered an overflowing dish of all kinds of grilled meats.

Did I think of those who had less? Who were required to beg to exist? Yes. Did I do anything about them? No.

Today, I leave Greece. I feel like I have been here for ever. Time to go. I fly to Milan and Navarro this evening. Tomorrow night I will be staying some where on Mount Blanc. I will also be having dinner in France tomorrow night.

It is a good life. Thank you, Lord. There but for the grace of God could have been me on the street begging earlier in the day.

The Hotel Grande Bretagne where I sam staying has an historical background of note. Many events have happended at the Hotel over its roughly two hundred year existence.

Two that interested me.

I am a World War II history freak.

In October 1940, all guests were removed from the hotel. The government and headquarters of the British forces replaced them. It was World War II time. Then the Germans came. Their invasion was successful. The Nazi hierarchy took over the Hotel for their headquaters. Greece was liberated in October 1944. The Hotel became the seat of the new temporary Greek government.

Demonstrations occur.

Generally in the plaza accross from the Hotel Grande Bretagne. The plaza is in front of Parliament. Thousands come out to protest. Last year a demonstration occurred. The people came accross the street to the Hotel and ripped out the Hotel’s gigantic marble steps. As well as the marble steps in front of the other hotels on the same block.

Yesterday’s blog screwed up. Spelling, English, etc. The bottom third of the first part of the publication. Nothing I could do. As terrific as this hotel is, their computers are a generation ago. Slow and mistake inclined. Suddenly, I could not correct my mistakes nor the computer’s.

Terri White. A love of my life. Donna writes that Terri will be appearing in The Razzy Room of the Hotel Nikko in Los Angeles on July 10. A big deal! Go Terri!

I published another article on Amazon Kindle yesterday. Chevron Officials Banned From Leaving Brazil. Theme: Fool me once you may get away with it…..try to fool me a second time and you are in trouble.

That is it for today. The end of the Greek portion of my trip. Tonight back in Italy. Tomorrow night dinner in France.

Enjoy your day!

DAYS 31 and 32 continued

Me again. I could not finish the blog. Computer was giving me a hard time. Opted to try this. Hope it works.

Remember to read the previous post bearing same date first.

The long boat trip gave me a chance to see many of the Greek isles. We were in and out of about 10 of them picking up passengers.

Politics could not be avoided. I was speaking with some Italian and Greek passengers. Fortunately, all spoke English.

Italian former Prime Minister Berlusconi is on his way back. He beat a sex charge involving seventeen year old and won some sort of local election soon thereafter. Berlusconi is running again for the Prime Minister’s job. The election is next year.

Of the roughly 17 European nations making up the euro bunch, Italy is in the third worst shape. Only Spain and Greece are behind. Greece is last. Berlusconi has started blaming the Greeks for everything. He is siding with the Germans. The Greeks screwed up is his position.

I shuddered. History repeats itself. The scenario reminded me of the late 1930s when Mussolini joined with Hitler.

I further thought how dumb! Didn’t this guy realize that Italy will be one of the next. Sucking up will not avoid the grasp of the bill collecting Germans.

An example of how heated the conversation got was the boat we were on and ATM machines. The boat was built/bought 10 years ago with euro dollars. The Italian said that euronation dollars had built the boat. Not Greece’s money. Further, he said that money the Greeks were taking out of ATM machines was made up of Italian and euronation dollars. In effect, the Greeks were free loading…..all the way around.

I fear worse is yet to come.

Last night was a replay. Went ot Playka. To the same outdoor cafe I drank at several times three weeks ago. The manager saw me a nd shouted out…..Louis! He embraced me. I had dinner on the poor side of Acropolis. At the restaurant where the Greeks danced. under brightly lite Acropolis. Only one problem. Business was poor last night. Only three tables in use. No music. The food compensated. I had huge grilled lamb chops. The kind with fat. The taste spectacular!

Before leaving for dinner, I went to the bar and put down two gins. a magnificent big city type bar. Just like New York City. Then it was downstairs for a manicure.

Chrysa did me. A lovely young lady. did a good job. We chatted. She was born and raised in Greece. Has a friend in New Jersey. She visits the friend on occasion. she thinks she may be cak visiting the last week of November and the first week of December. they are planning on driving to Florida. I asked…..South Beach and Key West? I do not think she understood these places. Her answer was Orlando. I told her we all love Mickey Mouse and she should go. But afterwards keep going south till you hit South Beach and then Key West.

I know Chrysa will be reading this blog today. Come to Key West! When you arrive, go to the Chart Room at the Pier House Hotel. I am there most evenings at cocktail hour. If not, tell the bartender who you are and how I may contact you. Do not miss South Beach and Key West!

I had a quick breakfast of nothing this morning. A double espresso. It was like drinking acid!

Enjoy your day!

DAYS 31 and 32

I am back! Missed a day. Yesterday. Big traveling day.

I am sad to say I left Amorgos. It is like Key West in my feelings. Twenty five years ago on my first visit I knew some day I wanted to live in Key West. Amorgos leaves me with the same feeling. No way, however. Key West is home and I am happy there.

I am in Athens. A big vibrant teeming city. After spending more than three weeks on three different Greek isles, I needed a return to the normal world.

I am doing my two days in Athens big time. Staying at the world famous Grande Bretagne. It is civilization. Opulent. Service till you fall over it. Tons of fresh clean towels. A woman to give me a manicure. A real shower. Not one of those small confines with a hand held shower head. Big bed with a great mattress. Clean sheets every day.

The modern conveniences!

My last day on Amorgos was spent doing exactly what I liked. I sat in my bathing suit with my feet propped on another chair on my terrace. A baseball cap on my head backwards. And read. Except for an hour in the afternoon when I went in to take a nap.

Dinner was with Demetrius. He made a fuss. I told him…..I shall return!

Yesterday was a new experience. My 9 hour boat trip to Athens. I was not excited. The starting time was too early. The length off the trip too long. I expected an old beat up trawler with a handful of people.

What surprise! The boat was fantastic!

Big. Three stories. Long. A ferry boat in effect. The first floor for cars. Don’t know why. There are not that many cars in the Greek isles to fill the mammoth space. Two floors for passengers. Roughly 400. The second floor all economy class. The third, half economy and first class. The other half business class.

I was in business class. Explanation time. Classes when traveling are not the same as in the U.S. Whereas first class is tops, in Greece business class is. The Greek first class is comparable to our business class.

You would not believe the business class salon. Easy chairs and sofas. That’s all to sit on. Pure comfort. Always a table nearby for a drink or whatever. Service. Waiters. A small bar with little goodies to eat. Only half full.

The trip was a treat! Rather than the dreaded experience I thought was before me.

DAY 30

An interesting experience this morning.

I was sitting on the terrace reading. It was very early. The sun had just risen.

I assumed the rest of Amorgos was still sleeping. It was. Except for one elderly Greek woman.

She came walking by. Wrinkled face. White hair. Tanned. Dressed in black dress and stockings.

She stopped and talked with me. She spoke smilingly and occasionally excitedly. In Greek, of course.

I sat there smiling at her. Nodding my head in agreement on occasion.

I never spoke a word. Nor did I understand the Greek she was throwing at me.

At the end of whatever she was telling me, she gave me a big smile and walked away.

Notice how well I speak Greek!

Yesterday, I walked. Once more to the other side of the bay. About 2 miles. My gait and wind are much better. I was moving along.

I lunched at an outdoor cafe overlooking the harbor. A spectacular view. All views are spectacular here in the Greek isles.

I ate at Demetrius’ again last night. Why not. The food is outstanding.

Demetrius’ place is nothing appearance wise. An old old small building with a beat up awning outside. Maybe a dozen small tables.

The place is packed every evening by 9.

Last night, I had ceci peas. Soft. Covered in a tomato/oil sauce. With De Vito type bread on the side to clean the plate.

My entre was a chunk of lamb and boiled potatoes covered in a similar sauce as the ceci peas. I was told the lamb was local. I suspect the poor animal had been killed within 24 hours of it showing up on the plate before me.

The lamb melted in my mouth.

I showed up for dinner at 9. Finished at 11. The Greeks eat slowly.
Then to bed.

Tonight is my last in Amorgos. I will have been here a week. I leave tomorrow for 2 days in Athens. I am returning to Athens to do some things I did not when last I was there 3 weeks ago.

I shall miss Amorgos.

Permit me to share some random observations with you about this island.

I suggested this past week that Amorgos probably had 2,000 residents. I was close. 1,859. On an island more than 50 miles long.

Amorgos is as it was 200 years ago. Perhaps even before.

The houses are concrete. All white. Each more than 200 years old. High ceilings. Irregular walls.

The people are 80 to 100 years ago. Throwbacks from another time. Simple people. Good people.

There are few cars on Amorgos. Two means of transportation exist. Your feet and three wheeled bicycles. Three wheelers all over the place with big baskets on the back.

The men generally 50 plus. Many 70 plus. Paunchy. White haired. Dress in black. The women the same. For whatever reason, the women’s faces are especially wrinkled.

The reason both sexes dress in black is that it supposedly is cooler than wearing a lighter color.

Honesty prevails! Eleni and I discovered each other when first I arrived. I had one big bag. She insisted on rolling it along. Not far. She stopped in front of a building. Note we are standing on the harbor front. Busiest place on the island. She told me to follow her. But she left my bag alone. What about my bag? Don’t worry, she said. No one will steal it.

Her husband drives a three wheel bike. He parks it outside at night on the concrete walkway in front of this building. A public thoroughfare. No lock. Any one could ride it away. No one does.

My apartment sits on the bay of Amorgos. I see the boats come in and go out. Not that many. There are no big boats. Some evenings, 2-3 big sailboats. People put in for the night. Otherwise, the boats moored or otherwise tied up in the water are small.

Really small.

The predominant vessel is a row boat. Yes, these fisherman go out into the sea to catch their ware in row boats. If you think about it, it is not so strange. In Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, the fisherman was out on the ocean in a row boat the whole story.

There are some ancient type boats, also. A couple of feet longer than a row boat. A rudder in the back.

The boats are evidence of my representation that Amorgos is significantly behind the times.

Few tourists. The island is off the beaten track. Only two boats a week. I think Amorgos is absolutely fantastic! And cheap! Everything costs nothing. A person could easily live here on a Social Security check. And still have money left over!

The tourists are from all over the world. They all come for the same reasons. Peace, solitude and the cheap cost.

The locals are a happy group. Difficult to know at first. They are wary of strangers. But in less than a week, I have become a welcomed guest on their island.

There are young people. However, not that many. The proof of the pudding. There is only one disco on the island. The younger people probably leave Amorgos for bigger and better things when they come of age. I hope some of them return in due course. Everything they will be looking for in later life is already here.

Internet and wi fi service comes and goes. Every restaurant and hotel claims they have it. Impossible to find! You become adjusted. Take it in stride. Eventually it returns.

Fresh fruit a delight! An example is a gift Eleni’s husband gave me. He has a garden next to my building. It runs three stories up a little hill. Everything runs upward on Amorgos. He has an apricot tree. One day, he brought me a bowl full of apricots. They were small and ripe. Delicious. Made my mouth water.

As else where in Greece, clothes lines everywhere. Front porches, sides of buildings, where ever. Even I have had a clothesline this past week. At the far end of my terrace. For my sole use. I have used it.

I leave tomorrow at 6 in the morning. I have no choice. The two boats a week in and out both leave at 6. It is a 9 hour trip to Athens. Going to be fun. Not really. However, I am going business class and am told it will make the trip considerably easier.

Due to the time constraints tomorrow, I may not be able to do the blog. We shall see.

I have experienced four Greek places this trip. A brief evaluation is in order.

Athens I liked. It is a big city like New York. Excitement everywhere. The reason I am returning for two days more.

The best viewwise was Santorini. Spectacular. I sat with God. The food was not that good, however. Santorini is in transit. It is going from a small unknown island to a major tourist attraction. It is closer to being a major tourist attraction.

Mykonos I did not like at all. It is a tourist trap. It sells yesterday to people who want that life style. I have no desire to return to Mykonos.

Overall, Amorgos is the winner. The view is good. Plus the island has a great package otherwise. Quiet. Solitude. Good food. Nice people. The opportunity to travel at your own pace.

That’s it. The next time you hear from me will be from Athens.

Enjoy your day!

DAY 29

Nearer my God to Thee!

I was there. I was close. I visited the monastery on Amorgos yesterday. Way up in the sky sitting on the side of a very high cliff.

Some pertinent background information first. Then my personal experience.

The Monastery is also called the Monastery of Hozoviotissa. Do not ask what it means. I do not know. Could not ascertain. It has something to do with the Virgin Mary, however.

There was an Emperor Alexius back in the 11th century. Whether he was emperor of only Amorgos or more, I do not know. As the story goes, a mysterious icon of the Virgin Mary arrived on the beach below the cliff. No one knew nor could discover where it came from.

Emperor Alexius concluded it had been Divinely sent to him. He decided to build a shrine on the spot to honor the Virgin.

The spot could not be the beach. A house cannot be built on sand. There was only the beach and a cliff. The cliff towered. Straight up. Three thousand feet or better. Alexius decided the shrine should be built on the side of the cliff. The cliff that was sheer and high.

He ended up building a monastery to house the Virgin icon. The Monastery constructed is 8 stories tall. For real. Built a couple of thousand feet up the side of a sheer wall of stone. The Monastery itself is constructed of stone, marble and whatever concrete was back then.

Now to put everything in perspective. Louis’ journey and visit to the Monastery.

My first step was to take a bus. To Chora. The old part of town I visited a couple of days ago. The road to Chora is basically straight up a high mountain. The Chora area continues straight up. Evverything here is up, up and more up!

Fortunately, the bus dropped me off near the top side of the Chora. Then it was a long walk to the gate to the Monastery. Up hill, of course.

The gate did not mean I was there. It was merely an entrance.

The next step (a good word to use) in the process was to climb the steps to the Monastery. Note, I am walking up the side of a sheer cliff.

There are 300 steps. They twist a bit. Always up. Never down. Not even once.

The steps are not of normal construction. Their height varied little. Their width and length very much. Like 5-10 feet.

The steps were constructed of stone. A slate type. I do not know if they are the original steps from the 11th century or have been replaced. The stones/slates were worn. A few missing here and there.

Basically, the steps had the side of the cliff on one side and a drop off the cliff on the other.

The Monastery was at the other end of the 300 steps. Almost straight up. I keep stressing the straight. Simply because it was that way. I would estimate the steps were at a 75 degree angle or better. That is straight up!

You will recall, I failed to make it to the top of the volcano. I was not gung ho to make it to the top here. If I did, good. If not, it would have been a valiant effort. I would give it a try!

I made it to the top. To the Monastery. It took a while. Quite a while. I stopped about a dozen times. Sat a while on a step. The stress on my body did not seem as bad as the volcano attempt.

I was thinking why was I making it now and could not with the volcano. I concluded because the volcano was early in my trip and a first attempt at something high and steep. Everything is upward bound in Greece. Hills and steps every where. I have been in Greece more than three weeks now. My body gotten a bit in shape and adapted to the terrain.

The end of the steps did not take me directly into the Monastery. There was still a long walk up a path to the Monastery door.

I was there!

Awesome is the only way to describe what I saw. A mammoth white building running to the sky. Recall, the building is described as eight stories tall. That is tall. Especially when you are standing at the foot of the structure.

The building was constructed on the side of a sheer cliff. I could not help but think sadly how many slaves were involved and how many died in erecting this shrine. I also thought the engineers and architects of the 11th century had to be brilliant to have constructed such a large edifice under extremely difficult conditions.

The front door. Small. Tiny. At best 5 feet in height. Maybe less. Three to three and a half feet in width. The only entrance. I had to bend over to enter.

I suspect the Monastery entrance was so constructed because people were shorter back then. Additionally, it was a good way to ward off invaders. Only one bad guy at a time could enter.

The first room on the other side of the entrance. The first thing I saw was a table with clothes. Women’s dresses, men’s pants, etc.

There is a strict dress code. No shorts on men. Women in dresses. Not even pants. Shoulders and beasts covered. If you are not so attired, the monks provide the appropriate clothing. I was glad I had been forewarned. I wore khakis. The clothes available at the monastery were filthy. Looked like they had not been washed in 50 years.

Awesome continued to be my impression as I walked through the rooms. Amazing what my eyes beheld.

Art work in each room. Fantastic art work! Paintings. Icons. The sanctuary where the Virgin Mary icon was shown defies description. That beautiful.

An eight story structure has many windows. The views from the windows magnificent! Open sea to the front. The beach below. All in glorious color. It was like almost being in Heaven and looking down.

There was a social aspect. A monk came out at the end of our visit. The only monk I had seen. The monks here take a vow never to speak or see outsiders the rest of their lives. This monk apparently had a dispensation.

We were seated in a long narrow room. There was a throne at one end. A long narrow beautiful wood table. A long couch with very comfortable cushions on each side.

The monk served us a sweet drink. A wine of some sort. And a sweet. A piece of candy covered with sugar. He spoke. Gave some sort of dissertation. Unfortunately, it was in Greek. I understood none of it.

The monk was interesting. He was tall and thin. Appeared aged. Had a very long beard. Like down to his chest. He was dressed in a blue flowing robe. A hat/head cover of the same color.

I found his hands and face skin interesting. Dirty. Perhaps he had come to see us directly from the fields. But there were no fields. We were attached to a cliff. Then, he did not bathe that often. It was the only viable conclusion I could come to.

Between the dirty clothes at the beginning for those not properly dressed and the monk’s lack of cleanliness, I assumed the axiom that cleanliness is next to Godliness did not apply at the Monastery.

I made a meager contribution to the Monastery as I left.

There was a guest book. I signed and dated it. I wanted the whole world to know I had made it. I also inscribed above my signature…..Just amazing!!!

The trip down was not so bad. I took my time so I would not fall.

The bus was at the end of the Chora waiting where we had been dropped off. It was back to Amorgos.

An interesting trip. I am glad I have been able to share it with you.

Enjoy your day!

DAY 28

This may be the most amazing blog I have written this trip. Perhaps the most amazing I have ever written.

I have read travel is educational. What I learned yesterday, I never knew. It was extremely revealing!

We start with bread.

The last two mornings, I have purchased at the local bakery shop a hot loaf of bread. Spread butter on it. Delicious.

The bread was familiar. Very. It was De Vito’s.

De Vito’s was a bakery in Utica. On Jay Street where I grew up. Across from Brandagee School. I did first and second grade there.

The bread was initially baked in a garage in the back. Then a for real bakery was built on the site.

The elder Mr. De Vito made a unique bread. I have never tasted any like it. A long thick bread. Cirspy hard crust. Flavorful inside. Sides of loaf soft, not crusty.

After Mr. De Vito passed away, his son continued to make the bread. Then he aged and the business was closed.

A sad daY.

Several years later, Mr. Zenzillo started making the same bread. He had worked for the De Vito’s for a number of years.

I have been away from Utica for some time now. I do not know if Mr. Zenzillo is still baking the bread.

Nowhere anywhere have I ever tasted the De Vito bread again till the last two days. I tasted it here in Greece on a small island called Amorgos.

My breakfast bread baked here on Amorgos.

I was confused. How? It was Italian bread and a Greek was making it.

Then I thought of my meals at Demetrius’. Dishes of my youth. Food my mother and grandmother used to prepare.

I again thought how? I was on a Greek island with Greeks cooking.

Search and ye shall find. I asked around. Talked with some of the locals. What they represented to me is one of the most startling pieces of information I have ever learned.

The southern Italian cooking I am so fond of has a Greek component. Perhaps a significant influence.

This is the story.

Greece was a commercial nation in the thousand year period before the birth of Christ. The Greeks always sought new ports from which to do business.

Between 700 B.C. and 800 B.C., Greeks immigrated to Southern Italy to establish commercial places of business. It was a colonization of southern Italy by Greeks.

Calabria, Puglia, and Salento were the primary areas where the Greeks settled. They were sort of like an expatriate community. The Greeks and Italians got along. There were no ethnic battles.

Other areas settled in subsequent years by this Greek invasion included a part of Sicily and the foot of the boot. The immigration was significant. These two areas became known as the Magna Graecie. Latin for Greater Greece.

The Greeks blended into southern Italian society over the years. The Greeks became Italianized, especially during the Middle Ages.

There was another influx of Greeks in the late 1400s. To Venice.

The final significant immigration was following World War II. A time when many displaced Europeans were moving to the United States, England, and Australia. Some Greeks opted not to enter those countries. Instead they settled in southern Italy.

This immigration process has not ceased. It continues to this day. Though it is much slower at this time.

What am I saying?

Southern Italian cooking has been decidedly influenced by Greek cooking. Otherwise, how could I purchase cooked meals and bread on this Greek island made by people who have never left the island? They and their families have been born and died here for centuries.

This theory, which I consider reality, can be taken a step further.

How many present day southern Italians and Italian Americans have Greek blood in them? It has to be. All those years with no intermingling of the two nationalities? No way.

Believe what you like. I think I am part Greek. As were my father and grandfather and many of our ancestors before them.

There is another way of viewing my conclusion. Perhaps I have been in Greece too long.

Enjoy your day!

DAY 27

Yesterday was a nothing day. Which means…..I did nothing of consequence.

I had intentions of visiting the monastery in the afternoon. Then in the evening watching the Germany/Greece soccer game on TV at a restaurant with a group of Greeks. Nothing happened. I got lazy.

I did take three walks. One long. About four miles.

The long one was around the bay opposite from where I am staying. Came upon a quaint small restaurant on the water’s edge. Six tables set on crushed stones at the edge itself. Shaded by a huge tree and some awnings.

It was a meze restaurant. Who knew what a meze restaurant was. It looked appealing, however. So I stopped.

A meze is a bunch of small plates of appetizers. Served with a drink. The purpose of the appetizers is to enhance the taste of the drink. Ouzo was the only drink provided with the food. Ouzo appetizers was what I had. Properly referred to as ouzo meze.

I ordered a serving. All kinds of fish and meat. A few veggies. All in small proportions. With two ouzo, of course.

A great lunch! An interesting one! I do not know if it enhanced the ouzo. But it was good.

The meze lunch was about three in the afternoon. That did it for dinner. No way.

My second and shorter walk was to get an ice cream cone. Cherry. The lady serving said it was strawberry and she should know. She was up till three in the morning making it.

I saw huge pieces of cherry. However, who am I to argue. I am in a strange country. No way would I offend any one.

Actually, the lady was nice. She was showing off her English. I attribute her strawberry/cherry mix up to that.

Another short walk. Saw two elderly people sitting in front of what I assume was their home. A small white building by the side of the road. He dressed in a black suit and hat. The clothing beat up. She in standard dress for a woman of her age. Black dress and stockings.

They each were weaving with straw new seats on two chairs. They never looked up to acknowledge me. Just kept working away.

Just off the water front, I came across a young well tanned Greek man. Only pants. No shirt, no socks no shoes.

He was making a fishing net.

The material appeared to be some type nylon. He had a roll of it on the ground. His right foot on a bench. He ran the nylon from the roll up to his right foot and between his large toe and first little one. From there the nylon worked its way to his hands.

His hands were moving. Rapidly. It was as if he was knitting or crocheting. He had a small knife type hook that was moving in and out of the nylon as he was making the net.

He never looked up either. He was intent on his work.

My game plan was to watch the Germany/Greece soccer match with a bunch of Greeks. What better way! Especially at a time when they all hate the Germans.

I have no TV. I question whether any home on this island does. However, most of the restaurants have TV.

The game was 9:45. I tried to stay awake. Too late for me. I never made it.

I notice Greece lost 4-2. Too bad. The Greeks are getting beat up badly in all respects by the Germans.

A Chinese reader commented yesterday regarding my recent writings regarding the euro crisis and Germany. The writer advised that in China they believe that shopping malls are the battlefields, that economic war cruelty and battlefield bullets are the same.

A perceptive observation.

I have been following the Greece euro problem and Germany’s involvement. I read an article yesterday that said Germany is incapable of handling the whole euro crisis. That Germany’s capacity is limited to 27 per cent of the problem. Germany would have to look to others for help in saving Europe. Germany would have to look across the sea to the United States.

Good luck! We cannot help ourselves and now we must once again aid Europe. How? I do not see how. It will be interesting if it comes to pass.

I like Amorgos. It is at the top of the list of all the Greek places I have visited. Even better than Santorini. One problem, however. It was difficult to get to and will be difficult to leave.

Only two boats a week. No airport.

I am not going to bore you with all the details. Boat here, fly there, etc. I have arrived at the solution. A pain. But one which I have decided is the best.

I have to be at the dock at six in the morning to catch the boat to Athens. The boat is like a subway local or bus. Makes many stops. I will not arrive in Athens till three in the afternoon. Fortunately, there is a business class. Not bad. However the trip will be horrendous. Without question.

I wish to return to Athens for a couple of nights. It is like New York City. Much to do.

My departure date for this trip is 6/27. Assuming the boat runs. You never know. The weather, a break down, whatever.

You are probably thinking why did I not plan this trip better. Because I did not plan. I did not want to plan. Two months gave me enough time to decide as I went along where the next stop would be.

I’ll survive.

As a side point of interest, the Greek Isles are much like the thousand Islands and Florida keys. Many islands. Approximately 1,400 Greek isles. I had no specific idea where I was going when I started. Except, my first stop would be in Milan. After that, I wanted to see Athens.

I have been doing a bit of writing and revising while on this trip. Yesterday, I published 1712 Slave Revolt in New York City on Amazon Kindle. Interesting. The essence evidences man’s inhumanity to man.

Enjoy your day!

DAY 26

Not easy to communicate via internet from the middle of the Aegean Sea. Equipment here all old. Connections not dependable. Things keep getting lost. I spend more time looking for lost material than writing.

None of the above is intended as a complaint. I expect no more nor no less from an island so remote as the one I am presently on. Amorgos. It is almost nowhere. Access is by boat only. The boat comes and goes. The boat come two times a week.

I share the preceding with you for a particular reason.

Recent blogs have contained many errors. Paragraphs repeated, misspelled words, capitalizations missing, etc. I cannot help it. I reach a point where I have spent 4 hours doing the blog, 2.5 of which were spent finding the blog when it has disappeared.

I reach a point where I say I must publish before I lose the blog in its entirety for good. So I publish. I must admit when I am at that point, I am also very tired and say screw it.

Forgive me. The substance is good, even though the form may be lacking on occasion.

Which brings me to my present abode. A small white cottage with blue trim. Trim includes windows, shutters and doors. Sitting about 12 feet from the ocean. Yesterday I described the area between me and the water as a road. I was mistaken. It is a stone foot path.

Amorgos is one of the far out of the Greek islands. Off the beaten path. Few visitors. Not on the tourist routes. No big fancy hotels. Nothing but you, a couple of neighbors, and God.

If 2,000 people live on this island, I would be shocked.

My little house sits at the end of the path previously described. After that, nothing but water.

Sunsets terrific. Like Key West. Across the water from me. Over the peak of a mountain. Glorious!

I bought a bottle of Beefeaters yesterday. Enjoyed a couple of drinks from my terrace watching the sunset.

I was shocked I could buy Beefeaters. It has been almost non existent at my previous stops. Not only was it available on Amorgos, it was also cheap. About half the cost compared to the U.S. I suspect it is the taxes. If the Greeks taxed alcohol as much as it is in the U.S., it would dramatically help their financial condition.

Cigarettes. I took 4 packs with me. I have been gone 2 days shy of four weeks. Just finished the fourth pack yesterday. I am not doing bad in smoking little. I know. I should not be at all.

I bought a pack yesterday. $4.10! No way in the U.S.A. Another example of where Greece might help alleviate its financial problem. Increase substantially the cigarette tax.

There is a Chora on Amorgos. You will recall there was one in Mykonos. Chora is also referred to as Hora. It means old place. The old places on most islands are federally protected in Greece. Much like our historical buildings.

The Chora here is a large number of buildings constructed during the middle ages. Most at least 1,000 years old. Typically Grecian. One to 3 stories. Small terraces. White. Blue trimming. Narrow walkway, 3-4 feet wide.

Whereas Mykonos’ Chora was full of people, stores, bars and restaurants, the one on Amorgos appeared deserted. I saw no more than a dozen visitors.

Every 200-300 feet there is a restaurant or coffee house. Few or no customers.

Stairs. To the sky! Just what I love! Steps everywhere. Up, up and more up! Each one a stress test for me.

Chora was six miles away. On the top of a hill. The cab ride was straight up. The return trip straight down. How these cars do it, I will never understand. I consider it physically impossible for a car to keep its wheels on the road under such conditions.

Somewhere along the way yesterday, I found out what the windmills were for. There are many here as on Mykonos.

Olives were and still are big. The windmills were used to crush the olives. Where there were vine yards, the grapes were likewise crushed by the windmills.

Last night the wind returned. Cold. Very cold. I had to wear a sweat shirt.

I had a late dinner. At Demetrius’. After dinner there the night before, I could eat nowhere else. I was not disappointed.

Eggplant is big here. I had a warm appetizer of eggplant, tomatoes and onions. All cut up and cooked together. To die for!

My entre surpassed everything! My friends in Utica will especially enjoy that which I am about to share. I had lamb chops. Thin. The bone intact, not cut from the chop’s bodyt. Fatty and juicy.

Just like Pelletieri Joe’s.

I got up with the sun this morning. Walked down the road a bit to buy coffee, a loaf of hot bread and butter. Then back to the cottage and my terrace. I watched the sun and water move a bit. Nothing else.

A bit later I was playing around with my tablet. A very lovely young lady walked by. Ann. Swiss. 18. Blond hair. Trim body. White blouse. Short jeans.

We talked. She was back packing it. Was looking for a cheap place to stay. Elini’s was too expensive for her. She moved on to continue her quest.

By the way, I think Elini’s is dirt cheap. Everything on this island costs next to nothing. For example, my dinner last night cost 11 euros. About $14 American money. Tip built in. Tip is 16 per cent of a bill.

I had another visitor while sitting outside.

I heard clinging bells. Saw nothing. Got up and looked over the terrace wall. There were three ducks walking along. Each had a bell around its neck. Looked like a family. Too big ones, one little one. Obviously house pets out for a stroll.

I have no idea at this point what today will bring. Maybe a trip to the monastery. Maybe nothing.

Enjoy your day!

DAYS 24 and 25

I am glad I wore clean underwear.

Wait till you read this story!

First, I could not write yesterday. Sorry. Traveling, etc. No time. Ergo, I have combined this blog to cover two days.

I am in Amorgos. Mykonos behind me. I am glad to have left Mykonos. Overall, it was not one of my favorite places.

Short of returning home, Amorgos was the only place I could get to and get out of when I wanted to. To get to Amorgos, I had to go by boat. A big speedboat. Four hundred passengers.

Because of the strong winds, there had been no boats out of Mykonos for three days. The whole world was waiting to get out.

I arrived at the boat dock one hour before departure as required. Sun boiling hot. Wind still brutal.I found a shady spot next to a building which also broke the wnd.

Time came for the boat. Still no boat. However, all four hundred of us were required to form a line up to the dock. We stood there in the hot sun for another hour.

Finally, the boat arrived. We had to wait for the 400 on to get off before we 400 waiting could get on. Another half hour. In the sun.

There were a group of Asians surrounding me. Father, mother and three college age daughters. Behind me about a half dozen teenagers on break. The two groups were not traveling together..

The line started moving. I had my ticket in one hand and was pulling my suitcase with the other. At some point, we were out onto the actual dock. The wind was beating us up. Extremely strong. Little neadles of sand blowing into us.

I was wearing a sport shirt, shorts and sandals. And a pair of jockey shorts. The sport shirt was being worn ouside my shorts.

All of a sudden, a large gust of wind hit us. The wind swooped my shirt upwards. The shirt was in my armpits and above my head. I immediately dropped the suitcase, held tight to my ticket, and raised my arms up to bring my shirt down. As my arms went up, my shorts went down. To my ankles. There I was. Standing with my arms over my head, my shirt in my armpits and my shorts down around my ankles.

Louis in all his bvd glory.

I was glad I had listened to my mother who told me to always wear clean underwear.

Everything was rapid, but seemed to be happening in slow motion.

The Asian family in front of me starred wide eyed. The father looked grim. I could not see the Asian girls to my rear.

I pulled my shorts up, shirt down. Did not even break a smile. Proceeded on as if nothing had happened.

My next story from yesterday is about a know it all who got hustled. I was the know it all.

The boats had not traveled for 3 days. The wind too strong. I drove the ticket lady crazy every two hours the third day. The winds were supposed to die down a bit and it was anticipated the boats would be able to travel the next day.

It was 9 at night. I am dealing with a hard assed middle aged Greek woman who could care less about the plight I was in. I had to get out of Myknonos.

There was only one boat scheduled for the next day. Amorgos would be the fourth stop. These boats operate like trains and buses.

She could get me a ticket/seat to the first stop. However, there was no room at the inn thereafter. Genius me said why don’t I try to influence her. I took out a ten euro bill. I slipped it towards her on the counter and said…..look again, you might have overlooked something.

Her eyes brightened as she saw the ten euro bill. As she grabbed for it, she exlaimed…..oh, yes I do have one more seat. There was one problem. I would have to change seats at the first stop. No problem!

There was a problem. It became apparent when I went to change seats at the first stop. The new seat was in section P and had a number 401. There was no section P nor seat numbered 401.

I smiled. She had hustled me!

No way was I going to get off the boat. I had a ticket, even though it was a bogus one. I went to the back of the boat and sat on the floor. There were a dozen others who must have been hustled also. We were all sitting on the floor for the rest of the trip. No one bothered us.

My third story involves Demetrius and dinner last night.

When I got off the boat in Amorgos, I was tired. The boat ride had been rocky. There was an outside cafe immediately where the boat dropped passengers off. I went and sat down. I was the only customer. It was around 7 in the evening.

I asked of a drink. Introduced myself. His name was Demetrius. He gave me a drink and some cheese and olives.

I felt sorry for Demetrius. No customers, except for me. I
said I would return for dinner.

Demetrius was a typical looking 60ish Greek Man. White haired, paunchy.

I returned two hours later for dinner. The place was packed!

When I finished my meal, I knew why. Fantastic tasting food!

It was my mother’s cooking.

I had two spectacular dishes.

The first was a mixture of zucchini, tomatoes and potatoes all cooked in a red oily sauce. Actually buried in the sauce.

The first mouthful told the story. It took me back 60 years. The same dish my mother used to make.

I cleaned up the sauce with bread. Not a drop was left on the plate.

The next dish was fried eggplant. I have not had fried eggplant since my mother passed away some 25 years ago.

Hers and Demetrius’, to die for!

My mother used to make parmaggian. I probably spelled the word wrong. On occasion, I can be a poor Italian. The first thing she had to do was fry the sliced eggplant. I always loved the fried product. My mother used to holler at me for eating it that way. It was to be part of the larger dish she was preparing.

Last night I experienced that taste again.

I found a place to stay. Elini’s. I am in a first floor apartment. Across the street is the beach and ocean. My apartment is not a cave as in Santorini, but it is quaint little white cottage. I am sitting on the terrace in front writing this blog.

Enjoy your day!